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HomeIndustry & UpdatesGovt launches App to bridge gaps in sugar production

Govt launches App to bridge gaps in sugar production

Kisumu, Kenya, Dec 2 –  The Sugar Directorate has launched an application that is aimed at providing sugarcane farmers access to approved and localized information conveniently from the KALRO Sugar Research Institute through their mobile handsets. 

Director General at the Agriculture and Food Authority, Kello Harsama, said the mobile application will enable the transfer of farming technical know-how and trends including up-to-date content on sugar cane varieties, agronomic packages, value addition opportunities in the sugar industry, as well as market information, technology, and innovation

“Through the application, farmers will be able to lodge requests to extension officers in real-time, giving stakeholders the assurance that the Miller and the Sugar Directorate have received a request and will offer consistent and prompt support in the response to farmers’ requests,” he said.

He said the Sugar Directorate invested over Sh1 million to develop the app which will also provide customized support solutions to ensure farmers receive localized content based on their region-specific sugarcane varieties.

“This newly developed mobile app will relinquish the manual process of information management, streamline stakeholder service management and solve complex issues in a prompt and professional manner – all of which is in line with the Government’s digital transformation agenda,” Harsama added.

Kenya’s sugar industry contributes 15 percent to Agricultural GDP and 2.75 percent of National GDP and relies on approximately 270,000 small-scale sugarcane farmers spread across 14 counties  – Bungoma, Busia, Kwale, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Siaya, Kisii, Kisumu, Homabay, Migori, Kakamega, Kericho, Nandi, and Narok.

A survey carried out by the Sugar Directorate revealed that sugarcane farmers receive inadequate extension services due to inadequate personnel, unfavorable methods of delivering extension services, and poor knowledge of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPS) for sugarcane production among the extension officers.

Twenty-nine of farmers who were interviewed said they were not visited by extension officers while fifty-three percent said they were visited once.

Sugar Directorate Director, Willis Audi said the industry has in the past, faced several challenges such as high cost of production, high debt portfolio for the state-owned mills, cane shortage, declining yields, low-value addition initiatives, inadequate research and extension, ageing equipment, reduced incomes to farmers and a weak regulatory framework.

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